The Covid-19 pandemic has been the catalyst for enormous change in the way we work. But the pandemic isn’t the sole driver of the move to agile working; it has merely accelerated existing trends. The way we source and acquire skills is changing too, but technology was advancing innovation in identifying and processing candidates long before the virus arrived.
Today, following a period where demand for skills plummeted across many sectors, businesses are ramping up their hiring in a big way – but they are competing for candidates in a talent-scarce market. When it comes to what’s being called the ‘Great Rehire’, organisations face challenges unmatched since the 2008 global financial crisis.
To successfully navigate these difficult waters, businesses need to urgently discuss new and emerging workforce trends with their Managed Service Providers - and quickly reimagine the way they find and engage talent.
New challenges: building a post-pandemic workforce
Post-pandemic, employers will need to rebuild their workforce in a way that is scalable and that accounts for all categories of workers. In 2021 and beyond, location of work is no longer a key driver. What is key is finding the best talent to deliver expected results and on a global scale, whether that is on a permanent basis or through the use of contingent labour.
Given the rapid increase of contingent labour use, and its expansion to include gig workers, independent contractors, freelancers, and project-based workers, organisations need to quickly ramp up hiring across their entire workforce – not just their full-time employee base.
The emergence of new talent acquisition channels has also made it clear that organisations need to shift how and from where they find their talent - utilising a variety of tools and tactics such as direct sourcing, private talent clouds, freelance management systems, redeployment programmes, shift worker systems, and diverse talent pools.
Most organisations have had a contingent workforce management programme in place for years with some combination of a managed service provider (MSP) to engage, manage and report on contractors and talent, and a vendor management system (VMS) to enable visibility and processes as a system of record. However, these first-generation programmes don’t necessarily have the capabilities needed to engage talent from new channels and in the flexible ways that workers have come to expect and demand.
New developments: using technology to maximise SOW
Today, around 80% of the non-employee spend in most organisations falls outside of the scope of traditional contingent workforce programmes. In the new world of work, businesses need to be able to quickly expand and contract workforces in response to fluctuating demand, bring on board specialist skills on a project basis, and ensure they have the technological capabilities to thrive in the digital age – and outdated talent acquisition strategies are no longer up to the job.
As a result, HR and procurement leaders are looking beyond traditional arrangements for the additional capabilities they need. Many are already exploring the benefits of Statement of Work (SOW) solutions, particularly since the extension of IR35 into the private sector. However, organisations must manage their contingent labour spend thoughtfully, and nowhere is this more evident than in project-based budgets.
New partnerships: future-ready managed service providers
In today’s environment it is vital that your managed service provider has access to digital nomads and that they utilise technologies like AI, natural language processing, machine learning, and automation to speed up time-to-engage – all while vetting and curating the most highly qualified talent in the market.
Organisations also need partners that can access diverse talent, track and report on it, and deliver a consistent message to prospective talent about the importance of inclusion in their brand and culture. This is true not only for the diversity of the worker or the supplier, but also for ways of working and how the individual is engaged. Across the board, greater diversity and flexibility will be needed.
To bring pre-pandemic workforce management programmes up to date, businesses and their managed service providers must work together without delay. Together, they must understand the impact of recent, unprecedented changes in the way we work on their specific aims and objectives. By figuring out how best to utilise new ways of working, new talent technologies and new acquisition channels, businesses and their MSPs can implement fit-for-purpose workforce strategies that can help them succeed in an increasingly competitive battle for increasingly scarce talent.
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To learn more about updating your contingent workforce management programme for the new world of work, check out our guide with Coupa - the leading business spend management platform. Inside, you’ll find a full breakdown of the changes that have made a new approach necessary - plus expert tips for evolving your strategy.